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  • Writer's pictureHannah R. Palmer Author

The McMurdo Rift: A Chat with Martin Lejeune

What's your name and where do you come from?

My name is Martin, writing under the pen name Bradley Lejeune, and I come from Bristol in the UK.

You're in an elevator with the CEO of Penguin. You've got roughly 30 seconds until they need to get out. Sell yourself and your writing. An elevator pitch, if you will.

I would tell Peter Penguin that I am a sci-fi author who writes space opera in the style of John Scalzi, James SA Corey, and with aspirations of Firefly and Babylon 5. My books contain spaceships, laser fights, and space politics.

So, you write sci-fi. What is it about that genre that speaks to you?

The thing that speaks to me about sci-fi is the idea that the way things are is not necessarily the way things have to be, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. Every sci-fi future is really a reflection of the time in which it was written and there are definitely elements of the 2020s in The McMurdo Rift.

Your upcoming debut novel, The McMurdo Rift, is about to hit the digital shelves. How are you feeling about it?

I am feeling busy, mostly. (Laughs) Early feedback has been positive, which is very reassuring, people have responded well to the cover so I think we are launching from a strong position but in publishing there are never any guarantees.

Give us the lowdown - what's your novel about? No spoilers please.

A decade after Earth lost a civil war the reluctant fighter pilot who saved the world has become a reclusive barman on the edge of known space and has to decide what he's going to do when his ex-wife walks in and needs his help finding her missing new husband.

What inspired The McMurdo Rift?

The McMurdo rift was inspired in equal parts by 90s Star Trek, my lifelong desire to tell an ongoing science fiction epic and the movie Casablanca.

If you had to tell a new reader what The McMurdo Rift is similar to, what would you say?

It certainly has hints of The Expanse, The Collapsing Empire trilogy, Gareth L. Powell’s Embers Of War and Robert Heinlein.

What's coming up for you in 2022?

In twenty twenty-two I am working on book 2 in the series, as yet untitled. The second and third books are in first draft stage and I am starting to outline book four.

If you had to read only one author for the rest of time, who would you choose?

John Le Carre

Read the last page of every book first OR Never have access to a bookmark (including improvised bookmarks!)

Never have access to a bookmark.

Always have to watch the TV adaptation first OR Only ever read the book

Only ever read the book, which TV shows have really been better? Honestly?

Have to reread only your favourite books OR Only be able to read author debuts

Author debuts, I don't reread terribly often. So many new books to get through.

Have to write your next book entirely in order OR Write your next book from the end to the beginning

I usually write in order, but my outlining is all over the shop. So I would probably write in order.

Write your next novel in Excel OR Write your next novel on paper towels

Despite a recent smear campaign by Books by Adrian, I find spreadsheet really useful in the writing process and whilst I've never actually drafted in one I can't abide handwriting which I would despise more than the paper towels.

Keep up with Martin & Malcolm over on and be sure to sign up to their newsletter to be the first to hear about all things The McMurdo Rift!

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